Tuesday 20 October 2009

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Review: The Hollow by Jessica Verday

 The Hollow by Jessica Verday The Hollow by Jessica Verday (review copy) - I would have a hard time summarising this book myself for several reasons, so the following is from Amazon UK:

Growing up in the town of Sleepy Hollow, the mystery and intrigue over Washington Irving's classic legend are all part of daily life for sixteen-year-old Abbey. But when her best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Abbey's world is suddenly turned upside down. While everyone is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead, Abbey refuses to believe that she is really gone. And when Abbey meets the gorgeous, but mysterious, Caspian at Kristen's memorial she starts to feel like she has something to hold on to for the first time since Kristen's disappearance. But when Abbey finds a diary hidden in Kristen's bedroom, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her disappearance or even her death? Hurt and angry at Kristen's betrayal, Abbey turns to Caspian for support...and uncovers a frightening truth about him that threatens both their emerging love and her sanity...

I didn’t like this book. It starts off with Abbey at the memorial service of her best friend, Kristen, and it’s quite intriguing. Abbey doesn’t believe she’s dead, but she has no clue what happened. Questions spring to mind automatically for the reader, but you’ll have to wait a while for even a smidgen of an answer. Then Caspian enters, and Abbey falls for him. The only problem is, he’s hot, then he’s cold, and Abbey never really knows what’s going on with them.

That’s pretty much the story; what happened to Kristen and what’s happening between the two of them? Things start picking up around the last 40 – 30 pages. Perhaps there will be some meaning in the next book in the series, but most of what happens in this book – walks through the cemetery, Abbey making perfume, going to school and coming home – it doesn’t really play any real part, and drags. I suppose you could say that it helps to build characterisation, and you could be right, but it just wasn’t interesting, in my opinion. I always read on author sites that scenes should make the story progress. For the most part, in my opinion, they didn’t in The Hollow.

The characters; I really liked Ben. Who is Ben? A secondary character you don’t see very much of, but the only one who seemed real to me. Abbey and Caspian just don’t behave like normal teenagers. A lot of my friends are teenagers, and I watch American teenage movies; teenagers don’t behave the way Abbey and Caspian do. Abbey reads far too much into what Caspian says, and reacts more like a younger teenager, say 12 – 13, rather than a 16-year-old. Caspian is around 20, and nor does he say things someone his age would say, nor what guys would say generally – or at least not in the way Caspian says them. Neither character was all that believable, and I didn’t feel anything for them. I didn’t relate to them, and I didn’t care about them.

On a positive note, the description in this novel was amazing. You can really see in your mind’s eye all the places Abbey goes to, and they sound so beautiful! Especially the cemetery! The setting of Sleepy Hollow for this novel is just awesome to imagine.

For anyone expecting an action packed urban fantasy, be prepared to be disappointed. There is no action, and the only fantasy elements make an appearance in the last 40 – 30 pages. There aren’t really any concrete answers to the questions brought up throughout the book. Overall, I was pretty disappointed with The Hollow, especially as I was really looking forward to it.

The Hollow wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be for you either. Read a few other reviews before you make a choice. But I think I can safely say I won’t be picking up the sequel when it comes out.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a review copy.

Published: October 2009
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on Amazon US
Jessica Verday’s Website

Other Reviews:
Harmony Book Reviews
Karin's Book Nook
Chick Lit Teens
Wondrous Reads
Read This Book
The Book Smugglers
The Story Siren


  1. I agree, everyone is so different in there loves of different books - I loved The Hollow myself and cant wait for the next book to come out! :)

    Sorry it was not for you.

  2. Hmmm...this seems to jive with another review or two I have read. Most agree it was a let down at least compared to their expectations. I myself have not read this one yet, but still probably will as to get my own take on it too. Oh, love the cover picture...better than the one I've seen state side. =0) (good job!)

  3. Oh, this is interesting - I've just read a long stream of 5-star reviews for this book! I'll definitely try to read it some time to see what I think. Thanks for the honest review!

  4. Jenn - I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! I'm upset that I didn't though. Shame, but nevermind.

    Gina - Thanks :) I hope you enjoy it when you read it! It was a shame though, I really was looking forward to it.

    Chicklish - Oh, you're welcome. I hope you enjoy it when you read it!

  5. I felt the same way. I wanted to like this book, and the descriptions were good... but descriptions alone do not a good story make. I was pretty disappointed.

  6. It's such a shame. Ah well, nevermind. Perhaps it's just this particular story, it's possible her future novels will be awesome :) If she writes a book that isn't part of this story in the future, I may give it a whirl.

  7. It sounded good, so I am sorry you didn't like it. I might put it on my wishlist and if it comes the library give it a try.

  8. I love an honest review, so I think this one is brilliant! I've read really mixed reviews for this book, to the point where I really don't know what to expect now. As I'm currently waiting for a copy, I'm trying to stay open minded but not get my hopes up too high.

  9. Ladystorm - Oh, if you do read it, I hope you enjoy! I really did want to like this book, it just didn't really work for me.

    Lauren - Oh, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it when it arrives! :)

  10. Hmmm... I already have this one on my pile, and this is not the first negative review of it I see! I'll have to read it for myself : who knows, maybe it will magically click for me?

  11. Oh, I hope it does! The premise of the book, after reading it, is really very good, it's just the characters, and unnecessary scenes just didn't work for me. I really hope you enjoy it!

  12. oh wow. I was looking forward to reading this book though but now it seems like something I would want to avoid. I don't really like books that are heavy in description and no action. I think I'll pass on this one though. It sounded like it had so much potential. I really liked your review.

  13. Thank you! I do recommend reading some other reviews though. I may not have liked it, but you might. Check out a few more before you make an actual decision. I'm hunting for reviews to link to.